Dr. Perry Alexander

The University of Kansas

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Gear Blog

My current home setup for music:

My current work system includes:

The Water

19 Mar 2016

You find out who your friends are with things explode.

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The Room

18 Mar 2016

It should be pretty clear from my initial set of prototype pictures that the room and the new gear don’t exactly go together. Using the bar in the back as an equipment rack and stacking the speakers in front of the wooden built-ins is highly non-optimal. Enter Natural Breeze. By far the best remodelers in Lawrence and as I would learn later, the best guys ever.

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Prototype Pictures

17 Mar 2016

Here are some pictures of the prototype system. Completely haphazard setup on the bar in the back of my sound room. I should say, what will be my sound room.

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Prototype setup

14 Mar 2016

I want sound. Having sat and looked at these speakers and amps its time to make some sound. Thus, I decided to set up a prototype to experiment with the various components. Not much sense in setting up a full 5.1 system if I can’t do stereo, so I decided to go that route first.

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What to do with a DSP

11 Mar 2016

With the speakers uncrated and moved into something close to a decent configuration, it was time to figure out the electronics. My plan was to work forward from my sources through the DSP to the amps and finally to the speakers. This turned out to be a great approach as I figured out what to do with all this stuff.

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End of an Era

08 Mar 2016

Before moving in the new speakers, I took one more picture of my system. Although pieces have changed over the years - Audio Research LS16 for Classe, Parasound for Bryston, Benchmark for Cal Audio - my speakers have never changed. The venerable Snell C/V have just been beautiful for almost 22 years. I hate to see them go, but they will migrate into my son’s first stereo. Something quite appropriate about that.

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Unpacking

07 Mar 2016

The three-day weekend gave me the opportunity to start hauling the new gear into my sound room. I’ve got to get all the boxes across the yard and into the downstairs door. Two days with a dolly got everything but the sub into the room. I hauled it crate-by-crate into the staging area outside my sound room, unpacked the crates, and moved the high/mid components and the lows into the room.

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It begins

01 Mar 2016

The big upgrade begins with a call from the shipping company the day before delivery. They’ve been told they have a residential delivery and are concerned that I’m going to be able to get my new gear off their truck. They said 1400lbs of gear with the lightest box coming in at 70lbs. I said not to worry. I’m telling you right now, I was damn worried.

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New Gear

29 Feb 2016

Major overhaul in the stereo room! Gone are the venerable Snell C/Vs and Parasound amplifier. Replaced with an amazing system that I happened to stumble into. Sometimes it is way better to be lucky than good.

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Martin Logan Sadness

21 May 2014

For those of you who don’t know, I’m looking to replace my venerable Snell C/Vs. They’ve been with me 20 years and sound really good, but speakers have improved and it’s time for an upgrade.

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Hearing Voices

18 Jan 2014

I just downloaded a remastered 192/24 version of Waltz for Debbie by the great Bill Evans Trio featuring Bill Evans, Scott LaFarro, and Paul Motian from my friends at HDTracks. This is of course the first great live jazz trio album and maybe the best ever. I’ve used it in stereo auditions since I bought it because of the phenomenal sound stage and the subtle artifacts - voices and sounds of people eating and drinking - that remain from the live show.

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Lots of Bits

31 Dec 2013

For the first time I’ve been playing around with various sample rates and resolutions. I picked up new versions of Gaucho by Steely Dan, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, and New Moon Daughter by Cassandra Wilson. Gaucho is 96/24 flac, New Moon Daughter is 192/24 flac, and Kind of Blue is 192/24 AIFF. So, I’m maximizing sample rates and sample resolution on music remastered using the best known techniques. Furthermore, all this music is stuff I know very, very well.

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Wireless Dac

02 Dec 2013

I wrote about my very cool new BDP-2 that now serves up all my music. Now I’m looking at getting all my Macs out of my principle playback paths. The sound room is now good to go, but I would like to use the BDP-2 elsewhere in the house. I see two options. One is to use ethernet to deliver bits from my BDP-2 to wherever I need them. There is some appeal to this solutoin as I already have wireless everywhere in the house. Another is to use a dedicated wireless DAC or possibly a Sonos system. The wireless DAC is a nice alternative with a wireless signal dedicated to moving sound from my BDP-2 to where ever I might need it. The Sonos is interesting because I have the network in place.

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Bryston BDP-2

29 Nov 2013

The latest addition to my sound system is a Bryston BDP-2 media player. It’s a rather unique device who’s only purpose is reading music files of virtually any format and outputting them to D/A devices. I’m replacing my trusty Mac Mini with a dedicated music player because iTunes is rapidly becoming the Microsoft Word of music players - a bloated pig of functionality that I don’t want. As I said to the Bryston engineer, I just want to play my music. That’s all. No Genius lists, no cloud crap, no preferred formats, no automatic tagging, nothing. Just take my music and push it out to a D/A.

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Tupperware Technology

15 Sep 2012

Many of my friends know that I finally broke down and bought a turntable. I didn’t get the very nicest model out there, but I did get a solid model that was well-reviewed - the Rega RP-1. I have zero complaints with the turntable other than the outputs having wired in interconnects. That doesn’t bug me as I’m not that into cables. Zero noise, soild, simple device.

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Benchmark DAC1 HDR

14 Apr 2012

About 6 months age Benchmark made me a sweet deal to upgrade my original DAC1 to a DAC1 HDR. I’m a huge fan of my DAC1, but passed on the original offer. I had just made a serious investment in amp, preamp, and home theater processor and just couldn’t justify one more purchase. This week I got a chance to revisit the offer and with some hesitance took them up on it.

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Serene Audio Pebbles

24 Mar 2012

I’ve been looking for desktop speakers for near field listening at my computer forever. I finally read enough reviews of the new Serene Audio Pebbles self-powered speakers to give them a whirl and am quite happy with them so far. I love my Grado 225 cans, but there are times when I want to work and not be strapped into headphones. Thus, the desire for desktop speakers.

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From Sennheiser to Grado

14 Feb 2012

For about 10 years I’ve been using Sennheiser HD 650’s as my main headphones at work and Grado sr60s on my desk at home. The sr60s are in my opinion the best headphone one can buy for under $100 and way better than some headphones at 10x the price. The problem with the 60s is that they are horribly uncomfortable for long listening.

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